Archive for November, 2007

Brynteg School, Bridgend.

| November 29, 2007 | 4 Comments 

I always enjoy the opportunity to work in Secondary schools, so thoroughly enjoyed today at Brynteg School, Bridgend.

I had the opportunity to work in the first session with colleagues from across the school. They were perceptive about the potential and power of these visual literacy ideas and the way that these simple principals can be applied to create change and movement in language work, expressive arts and many other areas of the curriculum.

In a second session, we worked with a group of Year 7 students on, amongst other things, extending descriptive vocabulary and structure. A lovely bunch with a great sense of humour, who, after a slightly timid start (not surprising when you think of how many growded-ups there were observing the lesson!) really grabbed hold of the ideas and started to fly.

I am off up to The Big City this weekend but will add to, and finish this post, when I get back.

Archdeacon John Lewis Primary School, Bridgend

| November 28, 2007 | 2 Comments 

An afternoon across the other side of Bridgend, at Archdeacon John Lewis Primary School., and more, really enjoyable exploration of the magic of language.

It was very rewarding again today to watch a some children surprise themselves (and, maybe their teachers) with some really confident, expressive and powerful language, both written and spoken.

Well done to the children and staff of Archdeacon John Lewis Primary for some wonderful explorations today.

(Read Keith’s thoughts on the Magic of Myst in the classroom HERE)

Corneli Primary School, Bridgend

| November 28, 2007 | 1 Comment 

A morning at Corneli Primary School, Bridgend (next door to Ysgol y Ferch o’r Sgêr, which I visited earlier in the week) What a great lively crew. First, with Year 3, we had superb fun exploring a landscape together and their descriptive writing really took flight.

A bit of “LiveBloggin” from teacher, Richard Humphreys, as the  first lesson goes on:

We are looking at a very dry desert. There are mountains and a bird circles over them. The children are asked if they can see the bird and what is it doing? They suggest that it moving in a figure of eight or maybe it’s looking for its prey. Tim asks ‘What lies beyond the hills?’ Children discuss in class. Some suggest there is smooth rocks over the hills. Maybe the bird is circling trying to pop a rain cloud or mark a place on the ground where something is buried. We move on to look at the crumbling rocks. The class notice that one of the rocks looks like a dragon. It could have died in a fight and was then covered in sand forever.

Tim  explains (using a story about his daughter) what a simile and a metaphor are. Children begin to write what they can see. Tim gives them a starting sentence ‘Standing here looking out across a dry…..

Children begin to write with concentration and ask questions to their friends about what they can see. They are encouraged not just to write ‘I can see… I can hear..All the class are focused on what they are doing.

Great stuff!

The second lesson was with a group who have already done quite a lot of Myst exploration over the last year after their teacher had picked on some ideas after attending a conference I was speaking at in Bridgend.

A great and different paced afternoon. I look forward to seeing what these children come up with next.

Well done and thank you to the staff and children of Corneli Primary for a fun filled day.

We really enjoyed messing about with words and juggling with their order to create a bit of magic.

Here is a really interesting challenge, a twist on the traditional crossword. This crossword puzzle really challenges you to think about words to solve the puzzle.

Ysgol y Ferch o’r Sgêr and Ysgol Cwm Garw, Bridgend

| November 27, 2007 | 1 Comment 

Another first for me again today. Working in Welsh and English at Ysgol y Ferch o’r Sgêr , and Ysgol Cwm Garw, Bridgend, Wales. What an enchanting day!

I feel very honoured to work so closely with the Welsh Medium schools. They are not just preserving an ancient language. Rather, creating a future, rich in heritage, yes, but also vibrant, progressive, developing and full of movement towards an expressive future.

One group, knowing that I am a massive fan of the drawings of Heath Robinson, were really keen to share their whacky inventions and descriptions. What silly ideas, and “I LOVE silly ideas!”

Today, we worked in an unusual manner, in that I conducted most of the exploration and lessons in English, but the children wrote their ideas and results in Welsh.

These are just some of the ideas they had today as to WHY Mr Walker (Mr Cerdded) has holes:

I ysgrifennu ar gwaith pobol eraill.

To write on other people’s work. Anwen

I dal llawer o sbectol.

To hold lots of pairs of glasses. Lowri

I dal llawer o penciliau.

To hold lots of pencils. Elinor

Mae e yn cael llawer o ffroenau.

He has lots of nostrils. Emyr

I am going to update this post with some of the audio and …bloomin’ ‘enry, I’ve done it! (I know. I should get out more often but being able to add audio will make such a difference as I can share some of our results in the future with more ease.)
Here is the first bit of audio. It may have taken me all evening to work out how to upload and share in a “stand-alone” player but I think it is worth it!

The harp playing is by Ffion, in year 6 of Ysgol y Ferch o’r Sgêr with some expressive dual language writing from one of her classmates.

More to follow…

Meanwhile, thank you to all of the staff and children involved in a magical day today.

Click on the audio player below


(You may have to click twice at first)

A bit of magic with harp

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and another…

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How about a recording of a class interviewing the first Welsh Atrus?

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Writing, with style, in one language is hard. In two, difficult. To translate between two languages “on the fly”, remarkable.

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Dylan B 2

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I wish it really was ME playing the harp, but well done Ffion and the children of Ysgol y Ferch o’r Sgêr , and Ysgol Cwm Garw. Thank you.

Yrrep dna Nivek (no, not Welsh)

| November 26, 2007 | 0 Comments 

Welsh Medium Schools Cluster- Bridgend

| November 26, 2007 | 13 Comments 

“Bore da!!”  Just the start of a facinating day…

Another “First” for me. I have done a lot of work now with children and adults who communicate regularly with each other in a language other than English. I have always thought, though, that one of the most fascinating, expressive and mysterious languages I have ever encountered, a language I have close to NO understanding of, is spoken, not in some far away distant land, but just over the narrow stretch of water from where I live. Welsh.

I had the great privilege of working with teachers in the Welsh speaking schools of Bridgend today.
Teachers from Ysgol Bro Ogwr, Ysgol Cynwyd Sant, Ysgol Cwm Garw, and Ysgol y Ferch o’r Sgêr.

We are going to try an experiment and Blog in both English and Welsh :::::::::::>

Wedi mwynhau a dysgu llawer mewn awyrgylch ymlaciol a llawn hwyl. Mae’r gem yn wych.

A really enjoyable experience -in a relaxed and entertaining atmosphere!Loads of ideas! The game is fantastic.

John and Pete

Ffordd arbennig o ddal sylw plant y dosbarth. Nifer o syniadau gwreiddiol yn addas i bob oedran. Diolch am y cyflwyniad diddorol yma!

A unique way of grabbing the attention of the class. Many original ideas which are appropriate for every age. Thank you for this interesting presentation!

Jenny Davies
Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr.

Bydd y rhaglen yn wych ar gyfer ysbrydoli’r disgyblion i ysgrifennu’n greadigol, i ddatrys problemau, i wneud gwaith pâr, grwp a dosbarth ac i fwynhau a gwella’u sgiliau TGCh. Bydd y raglen yn arwain at waith Thesawrws fel bod y plant yn gallu disgrifio’r golygfeydd i’w llawn botensial. Gwych ar gyfer ysgolion cyfrwng Cymraeg! Cyflwyniad gwych gan Tim.

We’re quite sure that Myst will prove to be brilliant for creative writing, problem solving, paired work, group and whole class activities and opportunity to develop and enjoy ICT skills. The program will lead to Thesaurus work so that the pupils will be able to describe, to their full potential, the excellent graphics. An excellent resource for Welsh medium schools. A brilliant presentation. Thanks!

Sian Phillips

Syniadau arbennig ar gyfer ysgrifennu creadigol – yn enwedig sut i ysgogi plant i ysgrifennu yn y ddwy iaith. Ffordd gwych o ddysgu ac addysgu trwy ‘chwarae gemau’. Mae gan Tim Rylands bersonoliaeth unigryw sydd yn medru ysgogi athrawon a disgyblion fel ei gilydd. Gwych!

Excellent ideas for creative writing – especially how to inspire children to write in both languages. Fantastic way to learn through ‘game play’. Tim Rylands has a unique peronality that is able to motivate and inspire pupils and teachers alike. Brilliant!

Rhian, Dewi a Rebecca

Adnodd wych i ysbrydoli plant yn eu gwaith ysgrifenedig a llafar. Cyflwynydd bywiog a dychmygol dros ben.

Excellent resource to inspire written and oral work. A lively and enthusiastic presentation.

ysgol cwm garw

Edrychais ar y rhaglen neithiwr heb ddeall llawer amdano ac, i ddweud y gwir, wedi bod yn ‘frustrated’ iawn. Ar ôl hanner awr gyda Tim, rydw i, nawr, gweld y rhaglen trwy llygaid newydd. Y syniad o ddisgrifio golygfeydd, defnyddio synhwyrau, ac ati, yn wych! Diolch yn fawr.

I looked at the programme last night and, to tell you the truth, didn’t understand very much about it and felt very frustrated, as I am not a great fan of computer games. However, after half an hour with Tim, this morning, I now see the programme through new eyes. The ideas presented about describing scenes and using one’s senses, etc are excellent. Thank you very much.

Vicky Waters

Nifer o syniadau arbennig ar gyfer addysgu yn y dosbarth. Wrth gael fy nghyflwyno i’r gem gwelais y potesial sydd ganddo o rhan cyflwyno profiadau a syniadau newydd i fi fel athro ac i fy nosbarth. Diolch yn fawr iawn!

Loads of brilliant ideas for teaching in the classroom. By being introduced to the game i saw the massive potential this game has for introducing new experiances and ideas to me as a teacher and for my class. Many, many thanks!

Aled ap Iwan
Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Ogwr

Adnodd cyffrous sydd yn addas ar gyfer pob oedran. Syniadau arbennig o dda sydd yn apelio at ddychymyg y plant. Diolch yn fawr!

Exciting resource which is suitable throughout the ages. Excellent ideas that appeal to the pupils imagination. Thank you very much!

Mari ac Ian

Cwrs defnyddiol, diddorol a unigryw. Yr amser wedi hedfan – doedden ni ddim wedi treulio’r dydd yn gwylio’r cloc!! Edrych ymlaen at yfory a gweld Tim yn gweithio gyda’r plant.

A useful, interesting and very unique course. The time has flown – we didn’t spend our time clock watching!! Looking forward to tomorrow and seeing Tim working with the children.

Anne Marie +Ruth

Fe fydd yr adnodd yn fodd gyffroes o symbylu defnydd iaith – ar lafar – yn y Gymraeg a’r Saesneg. Credaf y bydd yn ddefnyddiol ar gyfer hybu ysgrifennu estynedig ymhlith disgyblion sy’n gyndyn o fynegi eu syniadau a’u sylwadau ar bapur. Rwyn falch iawn i mi fynychu’r seswn yn y bore – roedd y mewnbwn yn cynnig nifer fawn o syniadau ac arddulliau i hybu ysgrifennu creadigol.
Rwy’n edrych ymlaen at weld Tim wrth ei waith yn y dosbarth yfory. Yr hyn sy’n amhrisiadwy ynglyn a’r adnodd yw’r ffaith y gellid ei ddefnyddio drwy gyfrwng unrhyw iaith. Mae hyn yn fanteisiol i ysgolion Cyfrwng Cymraeg.
Rwy’n hoffi’r syniad o’r pennaeth yn ysgrifennu llythr at y dosbarthiadau “gwarthus ein bod yn defnyddio gemau DVD – angen basio hyn”!! Bendant am wneud rhywbeth tebyg i hyn.

This resource is an exciting tool to promote the use of oral and written language in both English and Welsh. I believe the resource will be useful in developing extended writing with children that are reluctant to express themselves through writing.
I am pleased to have had the opportunity to attend this mornings session. The input outlined many ideas and techniques that could be implimented within a classroom
I’m looking forward to observing Tim at work within a classroom tomorrrow. The priceless element of this resource is that it can be used through the medium of many languages. This is advantageous to us as school in the welsh medium sector.
I like the idea of the head teacher sending a letter to the classes .
I will do something simular to this!

Ann Williams

Ysbrydoliaeth ansbaradigaethus ar gyfer ysgrifennu estynedig i bob oedran! Roedd MYST yn hawdd i’w ddefnyddio ac yn amlwg yn mynd i fod yn adnodd amhrisadwy yn ein hysgol.
Mwynhad llwyr i’r athro a’r disgyblion sydd yn cynhyrchu gwaith traws-gwricwlaidd o’r safon uchaf.
Llwyddodd Tim i drosglwyddo ei frwdfrydedd i ni am MYST ~ mae’n amlwg mae ganddo ddawn i agor meddyliau plant.

Diolch yn fawr Tim – Rwyt ti’n seren!

Fantastic inspiration to aid extended writing for all ages! MYST was easy to use and will be an invaluable resource in our school. Total enjoyment for teacher and pupil that produces work of the highest standard.
Tim succeeded in transferring his enthusiasm about MYST to us ~ it is clear that he has a gift to unlock children’s minds.

Thank you Tim – you’re a star!

Sonia a Sarah Gwen

Well done, and thank you, to Peter Price, Ian Thomas, Mari Thomas, Sian Phillips, Aled ap Iwan, Sarah Proctor, Jenny Davies, Ann Williams, Dewi Owen, Rhian Evans, Rhodri J Evans, Peter Williams, Sarah Gwen Davies Richards, Rebecca Morgan, Mike Webb, Anne Marie Roderick, Sonia Gatt, Rhian Cornish, Pam Williams, Vicky Waters, Ruth Davies,  and John Mason, for a fun, bi-lingual day.

For some more Welsh, try visiting the Welsh language site for Ngfl HERE or Cynnal or the delightful BBC Tacteg site.

We ended the day making a glorious cacophony of a soundtrack. It is definitely “more enthusiasm than accuracy” but if you are mad enough to want to watch, read on. YOU WERE WARNED!

Continue Reading


| November 24, 2007 | 0 Comments 

After a couple of days of “downtime” this find made me wanna dance!

What joyous moves! I used to dance like that. (“Yeh! right Tim. Dream on!”)
Well, my expression is, wobbly legs or no wobbly legs, … “Inside, I’m dancin’ “

Thanks to Chas for this.

Betws Primary School – Bridgend

| November 19, 2007 | 0 Comments 

A trip across the mountain to Betws Primary School – near Bridgend.

I am sorry that this post will be very short. I have encountered some techie difficulties.

In the meantime, don’t be shy. If you were there when the children of Year 5 and 6 produced their mini miracles of marvellous Myst magic… file a comment if you wish.

Ogmore Vale Cluster-Bridgend

| November 19, 2007 | 3 Comments 

I wasn’t expecting SO many people, today, at the Ogmore Vale Cluster training day. It was great to find a hall full of smiling faces at Ogmore Vale Primary school.

The cluster includes staff from Bryncethin PrimaryNantymoel Primary School, Ogmore Vale Primary, Ogmore Comprehensive, and Abercerdin Primary schools.

Well done to Paul Booth, head of Ogmore Vale Primary, for conducting a mammoth score, played by all those in the hall, on every kind of instrument imaginable, including trombones and trumpets!

I apologise to all those involved that due to technical problems here at Bryngarw, (The technical problems being that technically I haven’t tasted food this good in ages!) I am not able to upload the videos of today’s musical extravaganza.


Thank you to Paul and his colleagues from the cluster schools, for a really enjoyable day.

Barnet ICT Conference: Inspirational ICT!

| November 14, 2007 | 14 Comments 

Being a bit of a “Baldilocks and The Three Hairs”, to talk in Barnet is a bit of a hair-brained idea. (For those of you reading this from abroad, e.g. Watford or beyond, Barnet, (or Barnet Fair,) is Cockney rhyming slang for hair!)

I’m sorry, but you’ll have to brush aside any objections to all my hair puns even if they do gel. (Oh Cut it out Tim!) …genuinely sorry, because today was a fantastic event. However, the jokes are one of the fringe benefits of writing a blog!

Much like the title of this site, I went baldly where no man has been before, after being invited to talk at the Barnet Inspirational ICT Conference.

Infact, let’s not split hairs, today was one of the highlights of headlining this tour of The U.K.

I started with a presentation. Occasionally, I stand back and watch some of the films I use to illustrate the many remarkable outcomes children have achieved. Watching my pupils reading their writing in such confident and dramatic ways, made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck, today! I have recently added a few films of some of the faster paced writing we have been creating with children around the country. These have proved to be really effective and powerful.

After lunch, we explored a more practical, hands-on session. I am glad there weren’t too many people tearing their hair out today over technical issues as most of the games seemed to install smoothly. I have had a few sessions, recently, where people have encountered installation problems, but these are still rare, thankfully. The Myst games I use mainly, Myst III:Exile and Myst IV:Revelation, generally load well, although Revelation does take a large amount of disc space (at least 3GB) and both can require some “patches“. I don’t feel comfortable recommending specific patches here, as there are so many different computers with individual specifications, e.g. graphics cards and chips sets. If, and I doubt you will, you do encounter problems, a search for “Myst” and “patches” will lead you to appropriate “fixes”.

It was good to see a few folks letting their hair down, curling up and letting the atmosphere in the games wash over them. Well done to James for rising to the challenge of conducting a glorious cacophony! 🙂

Thank you to John Schmitz, Sharon Harrison, and James Wills-Fleming, of Barnet Children’s Service for organising today’s event. You’re a cut above the rest!

I’m off home for a bit of hair of the dog, and to watch two of my favourite films: “Hannah & Her Scissors” and “From Hair to Eternity” so it’s time for me to wave goodbye, to cut and run, make like my ends, and split …perm ..anently! Hair today, gone tomorrow. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

“Hair’s looking at you, kid.”

My hair raising comments are fine for a man who CHOSE to go bald. There are many who do not. Little Princesses (not exclusively for girls) provides wigs and hair pieces for children who suffer hair loss due to cancer treatment.

Area 5 Heads Conference, South Gloucestershire schools

| November 13, 2007 | 3 Comments 


I always enjoy the opportunity to talk at conferences for Head teachers. It gives me the opportunity to be contentious and challenging at times, whilst, hopefully amusing and motivating too.

Today, I was invited to present to the Area Heads Conference at Coombe Lodge. It was a pleasure to speak to these heads from schools in South Gloucestershire who are quite remarkable for the frequency and consistency with which they meet.

As, often, they gather to discuss business matters, I took them on a creative journey instead.

What a responsive, humorous bunch.

Coombe Lodge is a great setting. It has many Myst like qualities and got us thinking of simile and metaphor to describe the ambience of the place.

Try visiting OWL, the Online Writing Lab, for lots of useful stuff, including their section on metaphor.


Thank you to Mike Lloyd for organising the event, and to Eileen Whiting, John Taylor, Sue Hadden, Carol Warrant, David Cahill, Tim Ruck, Ken Carruthers, Chris Thomas, Jackie Le Couteur, Keith Ledbury, Kay Pettifer, Carol Cruickshank, John Ridley and the other heads from the group for a great session.

I look forward to working with some of you again soon.